Veteran Larry Turnbow wants to see recreation center completed


Democratic candidate for Watauga County Commissioner, Larry Turnbow.

Anna Muckenfuss, Appalachian Weekly News Producer

Larry Turnbow, veteran of the U.S. Army and retired environmental microbiologist, is running for reelection as Watauga County Commissioner.

Turnbow said his main goals are to improve schools, build a recreation center and create sustainable jobs in Watauga County.

“My desire is to not raise taxes anymore,” Turnbow said. “I want to evaluate the needs and look at long term what we need to do. Most of what we need to do is good money management.”

As a County Commissioner, Turnbow assesses the needs of the county and directs funds to fit those needs. 

In Watauga County, the majority of the budget goes to education, which is over 50 percent, Turnbow said. The second largest budget allocation is to the sheriff’s department and safety. The rest is for employee salaries, benefits, deeds, tax assessments, the court system, etc.

When Turnbow ran for election the first time in 2016, he ran specifically for the creation of a recreation center. The recreation facility has been discussed for 40 years, Turnbow said.

“I have always been in favor of a recreation facility because it helps our community stay healthy,” Turnbow said. “It gives alternatives to kids instead of sitting in front of a computer or getting involved with drugs or alcohol.”

Turnbow said the goal of developing a local recreation center is within reach. The County Commissioners broke ground at the Old Lowe’s facility on Oct. 16. A virtual walkthrough of the recreation center is available on Turnbow’s Facebook page.

Turnbow said he also hopes to develop jobs that are sustainable, such as computer programming and IT specialists.

“We are going to, as a county, in the next 10 to 15 years, grow in population to 10,000,” Turnbow said. “Having good paying, sustainable jobs here is what we need because we currently don’t have anything like it, and it will keep us from increasing taxes.”

Turbow said he wants to improve schools in Watauga County.

“We have schools that are 60-70 years old and we haven’t had any plans to replace or repair the school infrastructure,” Turnbow said. “I’d like to get us moving in the direction of taking care of our schools.”

Turnbow is running against David Blust, who he defeated in the previous election.

“I am thoughtful and look at all sides of an issue,” Turnbow said. “I do my homework and research and make the best decisions that I can for the citizens of this county.”

Story by Anna Muckenfuss

Photo courtesy Larry Turnbow

Featured photo caption: Democratic candidate for Watauga County Commissioner, Larry Turnbow.